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Selling socks with whimsy: Tabio

I was quite enchanted by the recently launched Tabio UK interactive website. It was sweet, whimsical, and endearing, but most of all, it reignited a nostalgic childhood fascination and playfulness around a normally rather benign, everyday product: socks. The best part about the site was the wonderful blend of emotive playfulness with the barely noticeable transactional capabilities of the site. Increasingly, I think this blend of feel-good emotive integration into the buying and selling process is the norm.

As I entered the site, I was prompted by finger puppet socks to interact with the socks. This small prologue set the tone for the rest of the site, and offered me instruction on how I should interact with the rest of the site. All I needed to do was simply to click and drag to coax the socks into view to skip, dance, or prance off the screen to make way for the next modeled socks. If I wanted to buy a pair, I just needed to click on the elegant “buy” button. Simple, yet non-intrusive.

Once in, the site further features video vignettes of two sweet girls exploring, dancing, and playing in a sparsely furnished – if furnished at all – old Victorian style home. The notion of “my grandmother’s old house” came to mind (only I don’t know anyone with an unlived in house like that that is so unbelievably clean!) The ability to interact with the product is broken up with more mini music video vignettes before pausing in product slide shows again for the user to view and browse the product.

Selling any product with whimsy is always a fine line as it quickly turns into an experience that is either too patronizingly cute, or cheesy, but Tabio finds a fine balance in also reinforcing the fun and unusual prettiness their brand and products embody. The credits with the products as featured “actors” at the end is a particularly charming touch.

Tabio’s site is a perfect example of a blended emotional and rational appeal to potential customers. It tugs at your heart strings in re-establishing the magical moments of your youth (who hasn’t slid across a freshly cleaned floor in their stocking’d feet?), while simply and easily meeting your browsing and purchasing needs by presenting you with manageable hightlights from their inventory each tagged with an obvious “buy”. With just one click, the user is taken to the product page within their comprehensive online catalogue for purchase.

I don’t know about you, but I might just need to pick up a pair of cable knit socks now.

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